Friday Recipe: Ribollita (Twice-Boiled Vegetable Soup)

Twice-boiled vegetable soup

I’ve eaten a lot of the classic Tuscan soup Ribollita (re-boiled). This is one of the best I’ve had. With Stefania and Walter Gambaccini, the owners of BaoNecci on Green, it goes back 5 generations in their families in Altopascio near Lucca.

While Stefania and I were crafting this recipe she said to me that Ribollita isn’t for “big-shots.” It’s “umide” – a “humble” dish for ordinary folks. I call this food la cucina povera (kitchen of the poor) or la cucina rustica (rustic kitchen). ¬†Walter said that a ribollita could have as its base all sorts of left-overs that the cook has at hand. The left-overs are simply augmented, re-boiled and served over stale bread. This is the kind of food I like best.

This recipe will serve 6 to 8 people and takes at least 2 days to make. Make the soup the first day, let it sit overnight and re-boil it the next day assembling the zuppa as described below. We serve this soup on a plate not in a bowl. See if you can too!

This is a vegetarian soup. For meat-eaters, if you can find them at your Italian market, add a small prosciutto end and a piece of Parmigiano Reggiano rind. Other friends make this with a beef or chicken broth. Have it any way you want!

If you can’t devote 2 days to Ribollita, the Day 1 zuppa (soup) is a wonderful minestrone.

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5 Replies to “Friday Recipe: Ribollita (Twice-Boiled Vegetable Soup)”

  1. I love your posts and recipes, especially when accompanied by video. I’ll look forward to trying both the pollo oreganata and this ribollita. I also wanted to comment on your “You Need to Chill, North Beach” posting. If my husband and I are strolling past the galleries on Main St. in my town, and happen upon a work depicting a sexy trio, we may snicker, but I’m simultaneously thinking thankfully my 8 year old son and 12 year old daughter are not accompanying us. Is everything appropriate for all ages? No. As a parent should I be able to to take my kids to the village icecream shop and not be bombarded with images that are inappropriate for their ages? I think so. Anyway, thanks for doing what you do!

    1. Ciao Lisa. Thank you for your post. Let me know how the dishes turn out for you. Thanks too for your comments about my Chill post. I was impressed by the thoughtfulness of the diverse opinions expressed in reaction to the post. It’s not often that we talk about weighty issues–the role of art and the artist in our society, freedom of expression, community values, violence and threats. I’m pleased that we are able to share our views and to learn from each other. I’m proud that our Village still has the capacity to stimulate and engage us in so many ways.

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